Rated PG-13
117 Minutes
Released October 13
There are so many variables beyond our control in how our life will be lived. The film Breathe illustrates the great personal depths where we can find courage when it seems nothing more can be done.

This is the true story of Robin Cavendish, who survived catastrophic illness to thrive in spite of devastating disabilities.

Cavendish, through resourcefulness and perseverance in the face of almost insurmountable odds, and through the dedication those close to him, not only survived.

He embraced life and spent years helping others with similar disabilities to lift the quality of their lives as well.

Cavendish’s story is told in a simple straightforward way in this film. The story itself is the centerpiece. It’s an old-fashioned biography and extraordinary love story.

Cavendish at 28 was a handsome English tea broker and adventurer married to a beautiful British socialite. He had served for seven years in the British army.

The couple had just given birth to a son. It was at this point that trajectory of his life changed profoundly and seemingly tragically.

Breathe tells the story of how, in spite of the changes to his reality, Cavendish is able to recapture the adventure of life that he so loved.

He and his best friend, who was a professor at Oxford, invented and developed devices that would enrich the lives of severely disabled people.

Director Andy Serkis is better known to audiences as “Gollum” from the Lord of the Rings movies and as “Caesar” in the Planet of the Apes franchise – or for his skill as a musician, a writer or as an innovator in motion capture technology.

Breathe is Serkis’s first feature film as a director. He is an actor’s director. That’s what makes this film work, as the story is driven completely by the actors.

Claire Foy (The Crown), who plays “Diana Cavendish” in the film, noted that Serkis’ style as a director drew amazing performances from his cast.

She also explained that she and star Andrew Garfield, who plays “Robin Cavendish,” have different acting styles.

Foy noted that she likes to research and study her character and then just to let herself become the character in the scene.

Garfield is exacting in his preparation, with complete immersion into the soul of his role, staying in character on set even when he’s not on camera.

His was an extremely difficult role – all of his feelings had to be communicated through the face and eyes alone. Another notable performance is that of Tom Hollander who plays both twin brothers of Diana.

The brothers appear in scenes together throughout the film and Hollander endows each with a unique personality.

Breathe is a testament to a band of friends and family who refused to back down in the face of incredible adversity.

We may sometimes feel that we are alone in our existence.

This movie is a story of how immense an effect we can have on each other’s lives, in many ways. An important note before you see the film: pay close attention to the name of the producer on the end credits.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which is the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.

She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. For previously published reviews see

Kate Cagle

Senior reporter for the Santa Monica Daily Press